I had so many problems with this book, I don't even know where to begin. My friend recommended this series to me, and I can see why, because there is certainly an addictive element to it. The way it is written, once you start reading it's really hard to put down.
There are spoilers below, but I don't recommend reading the book at all, so I don't feel bad about spoiling anything. (Sorry people who like this book or want to read it, that's just my opinion).
Breathe is the first of many Sea Breeze novels (and I have yet to decide whether I'll continue with them). It follows Sadie, a newcomer to town, who lives with her single and pregnant mother. Her mother is a piece of work and makes Sadie do everything around the house, including take over her job. Sadie works at a mansion- the same mansion where famous rocker Jax Stone lives during the summer months. When they meet, it's instant love... until reality starts to catch up with them.
Besides being addicting, there's nothing to redeem this novel. But... it was addicting nonetheless and I somehow managed to finish it. For those two feats alone, this book deserves a whole two stars. So what was wrong with it? Let me start with the writing itself. Pretty decent, I guess. The descriptions were pretty good and the plot was interesting enough. But any aspect of dialogue? Forget it! Bland and basic and just unrealistic. There weren't any conjunctions, for one, and everything felt robotic and not very fluid at all. And on top of that is the tone. At first I thought it was going to be a slow-burning, tender romance, because for a good half the book it was. Then, all the sudden, it's like common sense flew the coop and they're going at it on his bed. Like, okay, but where did that come from?
For one, Sadie says several times that she's not like her mother (who sleeps around a lot and now has another fatherless baby on the way) and is safe and won't let anything happen to herself. But she doesn't show restraint. Neither does Jax, who knows Sadie's situation and that she wants to graduate and go to college and doesn't want a baby and a minimum wage job. And the whole time, Sadie has herself convinced she's not like her mother. In the end, she decides she doesn't want to go to college, even, just because of Jax. That's fine, but I don't see how she can continue to distance herself from her mother and retain her self righteousness when they're not that different.
Of all the characters, there were only two sane ones, and only one of which worth liking. Marcus and Ms. Mary, two side characters, see past all the bull shit. But Marcus pulls his own brand of BS, and isn't as likable as he should be. The author does try to make him redeemable in the end, though, so some things are forgiven. Except, all characters are made to seem redeemable. Sadie's mother, for instance, doesn't seem like a character who deserves to be forgiven for everything she's done. But, she is. Everything is fixed. Neat bow tied like a Christmas present. It was very confusing, not being able to like or hate anyone, especially since they weren't super complicated or morally ambiguous characters. They were just poorly written.
And finally, the greatest sin this book commits, at least in my eyes, is the relationship between Jax and Sadie. It was abusive in every way. Don't believe me? Here are some examples of Jax being a stalker or abusive and Sadie just accepting it.
"I sat in your driveway last night after I'd made sure your bike was there and watched the windows for a long time, wondering which one was yours" (51%).
Seems almost cute; but he wasn't really protecting her from anything. He just wanted to, in general, make sure she was okay. I guess that's fine if she had known he was there, but he just stayed out there in the dark like a creep, and I find that a bit of a stalker thing to do.
"I was weak. I couldn't tell him no. I nodded and his hands tightened their grip on my waist before he pulled me off the counter and began undressing me the rest of the way. I didn't know what do do, so I let him" (64%).
She is giving him consent... but only because she "couldn't tell him no" which I find a bit over the line. It strikes me as coming too close, or even being, a rape scene, and not romantic at all. And then, two times on the same page (66%) Jax shows he's super possessive, controlling some of her most basic functions and reactions. It's ridiculous. Here's the first:
" 'Please don't shiver. It does something to me,' he [Jax] said, against my ear again".
And here's the other:
"I let out a happy sigh and leaned back against the seat and crossed my legs. Jax cleared his throat and I looked up at him. 'Could you try to not flash me any leg while we're alone? I'm having a hard time with it' ".
Later, when he leaves her, she's left miserable (which is understandable) and unable to do anything on her own (which isn't) for several days. Everything about this just seemed really abusive to me and I was super uncomfortable with the message it was sending.
But, as a reminder, this is just my opinion. You may like it better, so if you want to add it to your goodreads pile, here's a link.